Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Analyzing the common game

Finally, our club director signed us up for the Common Game, but I haven't been able to play much at the club.  But with a special Memorial Day game held on Monday afternoon, I got to try it out. Partner and I had a good game (63%), but another pair (who are often our teammates) had an obscene one (80%), so that was good only for second place.

For the most part, the boards fared about the same at the club as in the larger, nationwide field. The difference between the club and field was stark, however, on Board #3, I was South.  I opened the hand 1C.  West passed (!), partner bid 1H, I replied 1S and partner now bid 2NT.  He made 3 for +150:
This was worth 57% of the matchpoints nationwide but only 38% at the club. 

It appears that people at our club are bidding the two flat hands aggressively and ending up in 3NT (how?).  As it turns out, the defence to beat 3NT is extremely difficult.  The opponents need to lead spades, squeezing declarer before broaching either hearts or diamonds (depending on what declarer discards) to beat the contract.

When I bid aggressively,  on Board 15, it turned out to be a cropper.

I was West, and opened the hand 1H.  When partner replied with a semi-forcing 1NT, I should have realized that he might have a minor-suit bust and rebid a calm 2H. Instead, I got carried way by the good hearts and Aces and Kings and bid 3H.  Partner raised me to 4 and I got a diamond lead.

How do you play this thing? I decided to play for a doubleton heart honor with South.  So, I took the Ace and King of diamonds and played the third diamond.  Now, North won with the Jack of diamonds and switched to a club.  I took the winning club finesse, and discarded a spade on the Ace of clubs. I then took a heart finesse that lost to North's King.  Unwilling to give me one more club discard, North finally led a spade. When I got in with the King of spades, I plopped down the Ace of hearts, but unfortunately, South had a third heart and the queen did not fall.  4H down 1.

At the club, others stayed low, got a spade lead and easily chalked up 9 tricks in hearts.

The double-dummy contracts are always worth a think. On Board #17, the opponents bid 4S and made 7.

Double-dummy, they are supposed to make only six.  How? Assume that East is the declarer and South gets to lead. 

I led the King of hearts, but unfortunately, this gave declarer the entry she needed to run the 9 of spades and then a small spade to the queen and Ace of spades. She then came to hand with the Ace of diamonds and, after finessing clubs, was able to throw away her losing diamonds on the clubs. The way to beat the contract is to lead a diamond. This knocks out declarer's entry early.  If she leads the 9 of spades to finesse spades, she has no entry to her hand to take the club finesse (spades are blocked). If she leads a club to the Jack, the 10 is not a entry because I can ruff the third club. Leading the first spade low to the Queen fails because of the 2-1 split.

4S making 7 was a bottom, but I don't think others found the diamond lead. The declarer at our table just played it better than the field.

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